Introduction: A Downgraded Adventure To Oman

Introduction: A Downgraded Adventure To Oman

37

Welcome to my next trip report series, covering my recent review trip to Oman, which didn’t play out exactly as I had hoped. In total, I flew seven segments, and covered just over 16,500 miles.

You can expect flight reviews of Air Canada’s A220 business class, SWISS’ A330 business class, Helvetic’s E190-E2 business class, Oman Air’s 787 business class, Oman Air’s A330 business class, and Singapore Airlines’ 777 business class. There will also be reviews of several lounges, plus a review of one hotel.

In this post I’ll outline all the basics of the trip, and then I’ll publish the entire trip report series in the coming days and weeks.

Why I took this trip

This was a pure review trip, plain and simple. That’s to say that I took this trip exclusively to be able to review certain premium airline products, all while being away from home for as little time as possible. In this case, the trip took around 80 hours, so I was basically gone for a long weekend.

The single thing that initially motivated me to take this trip is that I wanted to try Oman Air’s “old” A330 first class, as it has been on my radar for a long time. This cabin is available on only a couple of jets, and it’s such a cool retro product, with just six first class seats, plus a couch in the cabin. While I had flown Oman Air’s “new” 787 first class, I couldn’t wait to try the older product.

So while I booked this experience between Muscat and Frankfurt, unfortunately that didn’t work out, as there ended up being an aircraft swap. Still, I got to review lots of other interesting experiences, so it wasn’t a total loss.

The itinerary for my review trip

The airlines I flew on this trip

I booked this trip with Air Canada Aeroplan points, which is one of my favorite points currencies. In total, I booked the award portion of this trip as three separate one-way itineraries, which ended up being the most efficient based on my itinerary.

To kick off the trip, I booked the entire outbound from Miami to Muscat as one itinerary, which included Air Canada’s A220 business class, SWISS’ A330 business class, Helvetic’s E190-E2 business class, and Oman Air’s 787 business class. I booked the following for 110,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points plus $154.44 in taxes and fees:

1/11 AC1207 Miami to Montreal departing 8:00AM arriving 11:36AM
1/11 LX87 Montreal to Zurich departing 4:50PM arriving 6:15AM (+1 day)
1/12 LX1622 Zurich to Milan departing 5:40PM arriving 6:40PM
1/12 WY144 Milan to Muscat departing 9:30PM arriving 6:45AM (+1 day)

Air Canada Airbus A220-300 business class
SWISS Airbus A330-300 business class
Helvetic Airways Embraer E190-E2 business class
Oman Air Boeing 787-9 business class

Next up, I booked Muscat to Frankfurt in Oman Air’s A330 first class. I booked the following for 65,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points plus $62.57 in taxes and fees:

1/13 WY115 Muscat to Frankfurt departing 2:20PM arriving 6:50PM

However, this is the segment that ended up getting downgraded, so I actually flew this in business class. Therefore I received a refund of 20,000 Aeroplan points, reflecting the standard business class price of 45,000 Aeroplan points for business class on this routing.

Oman Air Airbus A330-200 business class

Next up, I flew Singapore Airlines’ 777 business class. I booked the following for 60,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points plus $184.30 in taxes and fees:

1/14 SQ26 Frankfurt to New York departing 8:20AM arriving 11:15AM

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER business class

Last but not least, I just booked a cheap cash ticket from New York to Miami on American, which I won’t be reviewing this time around.

In addition to flight reviews, I also checked out several lounges. You can expect reviews of the following airport lounges:

Oman Air First Class Lounge Muscat

The hotel I stayed at on this trip

This was a very quick trip, and only had one night in a hotel. Specifically, on the return portion of the trip, I had a quick overnight at Frankfurt Airport.

I decided to mix things up for review purposes. There are four hotels connected directly to the airport, and I made the choice to check out the one that I haven’t reviewed in recent years — I’m talking about the Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport.

Otherwise, I’ve recently reviewed the Hilton Frankfurt Airport, Marriott Frankfurt Airport, and Sheraton Frankfurt Airport. I spend too many nights near Frankfurt Airport, eh?

Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport

Bottom line

This year is off to an exciting start when it comes to review trips, so it’s time for my next trip report series. You can expect reviews of several premium airline products, lounges, and one hotel. While this trip didn’t quite go the way I hoped, it was still an interesting experience all-around, with some real highs and lows.

Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Conversations (37)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Ken Guest

    How many posts did we get about this trip, yet no full review yet? Are you running out of contents? Overall more and more your posts are becoming useless and I hope you provide the value content that you used to provide

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ken -- The entire series has been published. Click the "More From This Trip" section at the top and you'll see all the installments. Please let me know if you still don't see them.

  2. Cedric Guest

    Would love to see this bird on the TPA route, "Rouge" is such a downgrade.

  3. upstarter Guest

    This is a great itinerary. I have no idea how you balance all of this with a husband, child, and a dog! LOL maybe it's nice to travel on these trips to get away from USA! I saw your article on the effort you make to put the reviews together - it's crazy you get up and to the airport so early just to review the lounges when it's empty. I really appreciate all the...

    This is a great itinerary. I have no idea how you balance all of this with a husband, child, and a dog! LOL maybe it's nice to travel on these trips to get away from USA! I saw your article on the effort you make to put the reviews together - it's crazy you get up and to the airport so early just to review the lounges when it's empty. I really appreciate all the reviews and I enjoy 'check-in' for daily updates lolz. I can barely put together a 2 leg trip just on my own! I look forward to the reviews, Cheers.

  4. Abidjan Gold

    Looking forward to the reviews, Lucky.

  5. Anonymous Guest

    There are 2 TK lounges in MIA, assuming this time it was South Terminal - J ?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Anonymous -- Indeed, I'll be reviewing that lounge this time around.

    2. Anonymous Guest

      Priority Pass app shows a $9 Pre-Book option for the TK lounges for a while. Is it something like guaranteed PP access during peak hours?

  6. Weekend Surfer Guest

    Ben, how far in advance did you book these tickets? I imagine that cresting several different itineraries versus one RT requires some time to make everything match up.

    Getting optimal itineraries at great points value seems really hard when most of my travel is based around my son’s school schedule, and I don’t want to take risks booking within a month of the planned vacation when availability opens up for some airlines.

    1. Mick Guest

      The reality is airlines “sell” these seats cheap via points so not to cannabalise actual business class customers. Business people aren’t flexible. Leisure travelers are. So yeah, searching aeroplan 2-3 months out for nyc to London is tough. I use American a lot and often book something that isn’t perfect a month out then slowly cancel and rebook better as the time gets closer. Mind you just booked rdu to lax to syd in biz...

      The reality is airlines “sell” these seats cheap via points so not to cannabalise actual business class customers. Business people aren’t flexible. Leisure travelers are. So yeah, searching aeroplan 2-3 months out for nyc to London is tough. I use American a lot and often book something that isn’t perfect a month out then slowly cancel and rebook better as the time gets closer. Mind you just booked rdu to lax to syd in biz for two for mid year for 86.5k miles each.

      Booking during school holidays also tough.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Weekend Surfer -- In this case I booked around two weeks in advance. Yes, sometimes it can be tough to find great options far in advance, but it really does depend on the route, and sometimes airlines also open the award availability floodgates.

  7. Alvin | YTHK Diamond

    That Helvetic cabin looks very sleek - looking forward to this report!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alvin | YTHK -- Indeed, I was surprised by how different the cabin felt on that aircraft.

  8. Bill n DC Diamond

    BTW I stayed at the FRA Marriott a couple weeks ago and the Club M Lounge is now serving breakfast including an omlet bar. pretty nice. Best part for me is the outdoor terrace for fresh air other than the walk to the FCT ;-)

    1. Donato Guest

      Not that different from when that lounge was the Sheraton Towers, actually.

  9. claude depardieu Guest

    How do you afford this?

    1. claude depardieu Guest

      Yes, but how are the miles afforded?

    2. schar Guest

      right, but to have miles you need to spend a significant amount of money to rack up all the miles. it seems like he has an endless amount of miles lol.

    3. claude depardieu Guest

      Yes that is how I was speaking in my comment. Maybe it is from the blog that it is possible that you can then buy miles. I don't understand the economics but it is a nice lifestyle to live.

  10. Mick Guest

    Wasn’t there something about aeroplan giving customers 75% of their miles back in the event of a downgrade?

    1. Icarus Guest

      Per ec261/uk261 it’s mandatory ex eu/uk /eea or to the uk/eu/eea on one a carrier based there.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Mick -- Yeah, that's based on EU261, but that only applies when the itinerary is from Europe, and not when the itinerary is to Europe (assuming you're flying a non-European airline). So that didn't apply in this case, unfortunately.

  11. Steve Guest

    Always like your reviews, but you must be special with obtaining these low redemptions. I've been trying dozens of premium routes with AA, AC, AV, and UA programs for intended trips over the next 3-9 months. I haven't found a single J route for less than 200K, but many routes with zero availability. Safe travels!

    1. henare Diamond

      He's been doing this for a *very* long time and understands how and when to search.

      You almost certainly redeem less often and are less skilled. Just a fact of life.

  12. S Gold

    Would you say point-to-point searching is the right call for most international award tickets that involve a connection? Award tickets seem pretty limited for a lot of destinations that aren't a direct flight (eg IAD to FRA). Better luck/availability that way?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ S -- Yes and no. In general I break up complex itineraries into chunks to find the best availability. However, sometimes you don't want to go all the way point-to-point, since some carriers use married segment logic. In other words, Lufthansa might not have award space if you just book IAD-FRA, but might have availability if you book IAD-FRA-ZRH, for example. So the right answer is somewhere in the middle, usually.

  13. Ted Guest

    Ben, How do you find these complex routings? Specifically, did the four segment Miami to Muscat route show up when you searched on the Aeroplan site, or did you have to construct it another way? If the former, what search parameters did you use? Thanks.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ted -- I do a lot of point-to-point searched. In this case, I found the Miami to Zurich routing and then separately the Zurich to Muscat routing, all on Air Canada's website. Then I called to book the entire thing as one itinerary, since such a complex routing won't automatically show up online.

    2. Ted Guest

      Thanks for the quick response.
      A follow-up question if you don’t mind: when you found each half of the trip (Miami to Zurich and Zurich to Muscat) what was the cost in miles? Did the total come to 110k or more, and if more, how did you get the reduction for combining them?

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ted -- When searching them individually, the price was 70K for MIA-YUL-ZRH and 45K for ZRH-MXP-MCT, so that would have been 115K total. However, when booked as a single award it instead priced out at 110K, based on the Aeroplan award chart.

  14. Peter Guest

    When they downgraded you from first to business, which fare bucket did they change it to - award or potentially revenue business class?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Peter -- I hadn't actually thought of that until now. I got rebooked in the "D" fare class, and I believe "W" is the standard Oman Air business class award fare class. That being said, there would be limited exciting opportunities in terms of where to credit the flight to anyway.

    2. GUWonder Guest

      Did you try to credit it to the EY program? That is what I do with my OmanAir flights.

    3. Nate nate Guest

      Doesn't Aeroplan give miles for OmanAir flights? Their UI doesn't allow you to insert an Aeroplan number -- only EY or QR or their own.

      Sad that they have such limited miles partners even though joining 1W this year.

  15. Overdrive_Type New Member

    Ben, what are your thoughts on trying the new AI a350? I tried it from Delhi to Chennai, and the new first class is amazing. Highly recommend.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Overdrive_Type -- I have plans to fly it, but I'm going to wait until the plane starts operating international flights around the middle of the year, with the new soft product. Happy to hear you had a great experience!

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Ted -- When searching them individually, the price was 70K for MIA-YUL-ZRH and 45K for ZRH-MXP-MCT, so that would have been 115K total. However, when booked as a single award it instead priced out at 110K, based on the Aeroplan award chart.

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ Ted -- I do a lot of point-to-point searched. In this case, I found the Miami to Zurich routing and then separately the Zurich to Muscat routing, all on Air Canada's website. Then I called to book the entire thing as one itinerary, since such a complex routing won't automatically show up online.

2
Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ S -- Yes and no. In general I break up complex itineraries into chunks to find the best availability. However, sometimes you don't want to go all the way point-to-point, since some carriers use married segment logic. In other words, Lufthansa might not have award space if you just book IAD-FRA, but might have availability if you book IAD-FRA-ZRH, for example. So the right answer is somewhere in the middle, usually.

1
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
5,163,247 Miles Traveled

32,614,600 Words Written

35,045 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT
  • December 5, 2023
  • Ben Schlappig
11
Oman Air Unveils Amouage Amenity Kits